Jay’Veon Sunday had a Saturday to forget.
Midway through the Washington Huskies’ 11th practice of the spring, freshman quarterback Camden Sirmon lofted a pass in Sunday’s direction during a live scrimmage drill. Before Sunday could secure it, sophomore inside linebacker Josh Calvert — 240 pounds of velocity and violence — obliterated the redshirt freshman running back, delivering undoubtedly the most impactful hit of the spring. While the sprinkling of fans inside Husky Stadium erupted, Sunday sprang back to his feet, apparently uninjured.
But the UW defense wasn’t done with him.
A little later, the 6-foot, 210-pound running back took a handoff and accelerated into the second level for a moderate gain, before junior safety Cameron Williams descended and stripped the ball out. The fumble recovery was the Husky defense’s lone turnover of the day. Redshirt freshman safety Makell Esteen later bolted around the corner to drag Sunday to the turf for a tackle for loss as well.
But Sunday’s struggles were not unique. On a day marred somewhat by a series of drops by Husky pass catchers, Esteen, outside linebackers Ryan Bowman and Bralen Trice and defensive lineman Jacob Bandes all picked up sacks. The 6-1, 180-pound Esteen — who enjoyed a standout day with the second unit — dropped a sure interception of freshman quarterback Sam Huard as well.
Other defensive highlights during scrimmage drills in the spitting rain included a physical tackle from safety Julius Irvin after wide receiver Terrell Bynum hauled in a short catch on a crossing route, and a tackle for loss by sophomore linebacker Daniel Heimuli wherein he gobbled up senior tailback Sean McGrew.
But don’t get it twisted: the Husky offense also had some success.
Here are other observations from UW’s 11th practice of the spring.
O’Brien keeps cooking
Graduate transfer Patrick O’Brien enjoyed another strong practice, though much of that production came with the second team. The sixth-year senior completed 10 of 18 passes and threw the only touchdown pass of the day in a rare series with the starters, lofting a tight end screen to senior Cade Otton that the first-team All-Pac-12 performer took into the end zone for a 20-yard score.
The 6-5, 245-pound O’Brien also piled up a 26-yard completion on a deep route to Sawyer Racanelli, a 30-yard strike down the right sideline to Jalen McMillan and a 29-yarder over the middle to Taj Davis (who, by the way, produced his second consecutive impressive practice).
Sophomore quarterback Dylan Morris — the returning starter and a far more mobile option than O’Brien — completed 9 of 13 passes but failed to find the end zone. Huard went 4 of 12 but did provide one highlight-worthy play, an arcing 43-yard pass down the left sideline that Davis snared in tight coverage from sophomore corner Mishael Powell.
As for the running backs, senior Kamari Pleasant and sophomore Cameron Davis both scored short touchdowns. Junior Richard Newton looked explosive as well, registering a 16-yard run while having a 22-yard touchdown trot taken off the board due to an offensive penalty.
Safeties Alex Cook and Asa Turner, right tackle Victor Curne, outside linebacker Sav’ell Smalls and cornerback Kasen Kinchen all watched Saturday’s practice from the sideline. Inside linebacker Alphonzo Tuputala and running back Sam Adams II did not appear to be in attendance as well.
With Curne still limited, junior Matteo Mele continued to take the starting reps at right tackle. Both of UW’s starting corners — juniors Trent McDuffie and Kyler Gordon — participated in individual drills but sat out the scrimmage sessions, allowing sophomore Powell and redshirt freshman Elijah Jackson to operate as the starting corners.
Standout junior outside linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui — who had surgery on his torn left Achilles tendon this week and will miss 6 to 10 months — attended Saturday’s practice on a scooter, with his left leg in a large cast.
- To close practice, UW’s coaches vowed to run sprints if an offensive lineman and defensive lineman each successfully caught a punt from starting punter Race Porter. Redshirt freshman left tackle Roger Rosengarten and sophomore defensive lineman Jacob Bandes each secured the ball on their first try, with the 305-pound Bandes falling down and losing his helmet but somehow hauling it in. The coaches ran, the players cheered and fun was had by all.
- As UW’s safety competition continues, the Huskies’ starting safeties on Saturday were juniors Julius Irvin and Cameron Williams.
- Redshirt freshman defensive back Jacobe Covington — who continues to cross-train at cornerback and safety — bolted around the corner to block a Tim Horn field-goal attempt, but was called for offsides along the way.
- Cam Davis and Jalen McMillan caught punts while Sean McGrew operated as the kick returner.
- Senior kicker Peyton Henry made just 1 of 3 field-goal attempts, missing back-to-back 37-yarders at the end of practice. Junior Tim Horn went 2 for 2, connecting from 32 and 37 yards out.
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